Staines–Windsor line

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Staines–Windsor line
Overview
TypeSuburban rail, Heavy rail
SystemNational Rail
StatusOperational
LocaleBerkshire
South East England
Operation
Opened1848/9
OwnerNetwork Rail
Technical
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC Third rail
Staines–Windsor line
Windsor & Eton Riverside
Black Potts Bridge
over River Thames
Black Potts Viaduct
over Jubilee River
Datchet level crossing
Datchet
Sunnymeads
Wraysbury
World War II link
1940–1947
Reversing point for oil trains
Oil terminal link
1981–1991
Oil terminal
1964–1991
Staines West
Staines High Street
Waterloo–Reading line
to Reading
Staines
Waterloo–Reading line
to London Waterloo

The Staines–Windsor line is a National Rail suburban railway line in England operated by South Western Railway. It branches from the Waterloo to Reading Line at Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey and runs to Windsor in Berkshire.

History[edit]

The line from Richmond through Staines to Datchet was opened on 22 August 1848 by the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway under the auspices of the London and South Western Railway(L&SWR) and reached Windsor on 1 December 1849. The line was electrified in 1930 at 660 V DC (since raised to 750 V) on the third rail system by the Southern Railway.

In the late 1890s, a 3/4 mile single-track branch line was constructed across Staines Moor to supply fuel to a Metropolitan Water Board pumping station. Use of the line ceased in the 1960s and the track has since been lifted.

Connections to Staines West branch[edit]

The L&SWR opposed connection with the Staines West branch but three separate connections have existed. The earliest was through the sidings of the Staines Linoleum Company and would have required use of turntables or reversals to pass wagons between the lines. In World War II a single track spur was laid from just south of Yeoveney Halt facing up on the Staines to Windsor Line as a diversionary route should cross-London routes be blocked by bombing; this link existed from 23 June 1940 to 16 December 1947 but was little used. The last, laid in 1981 when the Staines West branch was severed by the M25 motorway, was to an oil terminal built in the former goods yard of Staines West station and lasted until 1991.

Services[edit]

The service frequency is two trains per hour in each direction every day except early on Sunday mornings when it is one per hour. From Windsor to London Waterloo takes about 55 minutes, some 20 minutes longer than the quickest journeys to London Paddington from the other station at Windsor, Windsor & Eton Central, although according to Network Rail timetables, the journey time to many central London locations is similar from both stations.

The Sunday service is roughly the same, but limited services pass through Wraysbury and Sunnymeads without stopping on this day.

Services on the line run beyond Staines to London Waterloo, running a fast service which calls at these stations:

Rolling stock[edit]

Services are normally operated by Class 458/5s and Class 707s, although Class 455s are occasionally used too. Trains run with 8 or 10 cars, but sometimes run with 4 or 5 cars.

The platforms at Sunnymeads and Datchet are too short for the long trains. At these stations selective door opening is used to prevent passengers alighting from the rearmost coaches.

Proposed enhancements[edit]

A 2008 proposal was for the AirTrack scheme to provide a new link to Heathrow, including a station near the site of the former Staines High Street railway station.[1] Although Airtrack was dropped by BAA, it has not died altogether as in 2011 Wandsworth Council proposed 'AirTrack Lite' and in September 2013, the Airports Commission wrote to the Department for Transport saying:

'We think there is a case to look again at rail access to Heathrow from the south. This may involve revisiting the AirTrack proposal or developing fresh ideas.

— Sir Howard Davies, Surface Access Letter, Airports Commission

The Windsor Link Railway also proposes a solution for southern rail access to Heathrow as well as linking to Slough via a tunnel in Windsor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heathrow Airtrack. Consultation Brochure 2. October 2008, p7.